Why you should stop worrying about damaging your gear

Apr 17, 2017

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

Why you should stop worrying about damaging your gear

Apr 17, 2017

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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Do you baby your gear and protect it from any possible harm? Or you go out there and shoot even in the harshest conditions?

Some people worry about the gear so much that they don’t even put it to use when there’s a bit of rain. It’s understandable up to some point, but it has some downsides for your photography. If you belong to this group, you may find this video from Thomas Heaton enlightening.  It explains why you should stop worrying and just go out there and shoot, no matter the conditions.

YouTube video

It’s natural (and necessary) that you take care of your gear. But many people take too much care and avoid taking photos at even a hint of rain. This includes me as well, but I’ll get to that. Thomas explains that you should overcome this fear, and start taking photos in different weather and environment, and not only when the conditions are perfect.

Your gear will break

Of course, your gear might break, and at some point, it will. But if (or when) this happens – you’ll know that it got broken because you used it and took great photos with it. Sometimes, the resulting images are worth the risk.

Of course, this doesn’t mean you need to be careless. You should clean all your gear and accessories properly and keep it in good shape. But once it’s clean and ready to shoot, it should get dirty from being used, not from collecting dust on the shelf. Also, keep in mind that most modern cameras are pretty resistant and they can handle some rain, cold and dirt from time to time.

Why we are overprotective

I get Thomas’ point, and I agree with it. But on the other hand, I totally understand people who are overprotective towards their gear. I fall into this group, and I rarely take shots when it’s too cold or when it’s raining. The only reason for this is – money. And I believe I’m not alone.

I understand that photo equipment can be repaired and replaced – but it costs money. So I’m willing to risk some great shots in return for saving money on repair or replacing my camera or lenses. After all, I don’t live from photography, which is probably where I got this mindset. If I earned money from it, I might have a different point of view and risk more. But now, I get nervous when I’m out with the camera and it starts raining, even though I have a waterproof bag and the camera itself is pretty resilient. I know chances are weak it will break, but I can’t help it.

Get the balance right

I believe the point of the video is that you should have in mind gear is replaceable. You can always repair things that get broken, or buy new ones – if you have money, of course. But even if you don’t, this could change your mindset. You can at least embrace the fact that the gear will get damaged or broken someday, regardless of the reason.

On the one hand, you should use the camera, lenses and other stuff for what it was made, no matter the conditions. It could get you some great shots you’d otherwise miss. On the other hand, clean and maintain them regularly, protect them and be cautious with them. You can also ensure the gear and be on the safe side. The difference between being irresponsible and overprotective is huge, but you should aim at finding a happy medium.

[I Broke Another Camera – I Don’t Care| Thomas Heaton]

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Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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12 responses to “Why you should stop worrying about damaging your gear”

  1. Terii Pepsi-Cola Avatar
    Terii Pepsi-Cola

    Nope. Not overly protective at all. C1, C2, Fn, playback button don’t work anymore. Shot fine for the next 19 days Iceland trip. It still works.

  2. Mike Downey Avatar
    Mike Downey

    Since I bought my Olympus OM-D gear, and almost all of it is weather resistant, I don’t worry at all anymore. When I had Canon gear, I always kept an eye on the weather.

  3. Christopher R Field Avatar
    Christopher R Field

    Yeah I beat my stuff up pretty bad. It just doesent feel like its mine until a few scratches or dings. I buy it to use it. :)

  4. Robby Hoke Avatar
    Robby Hoke

    I can’t help but chuckle from the memories of the local repair guy back in the 1980’s giving me a quilt lecture every time I brought something in.

  5. Brian Anstee Avatar
    Brian Anstee

    I fell camera in hand managed to only get minor damage, snapped battery latch , nothing a small piece of foam rubber won’t fix. However did Spain My wrist and hurt My back.

  6. Andrew Sharpe Avatar
    Andrew Sharpe

    I’ve heard the opinions in the comments a lot. They believe that if your equipment doesn’t break, you aren’t using it. Do you drive a car off road and into ruts and boulders because it will “take it”? Have you ever bought something expensive because it is worth it, and might even last a lifetime — given you take care of it? I bought a Gitzo tripod not so I can kick soccer balls at it (apologies to Kai), but because I didn’t want to buy another one. Why do cameras that have not been kicked around like an old rag doll fetch higher prices than those that have been abused? I take care of my tools, including my cameras. If you think that makes me some kind of pansy or milquetoast, you are entitled to your opinion. But not to my tools.

    1. mike r Avatar
      mike r

      “Do you drive a car off road and into ruts and boulders because it will “take it”?”

      Not for nothing, but I don’t think it’s fair to compare a $1,000 camera to a $20,000 car. I have no problems manhandling my Ikea plates, but I’m gonna treat the expensive China with care.

      That said, I don’t think anyone is saying “Purposely treat your gear like crap,” they’re just saying “Don’t fret and fuss over it to the point where you miss shots because you were afraid of getting it wet or scuffed.”

      1. Andrew Sharpe Avatar
        Andrew Sharpe

        Yes, I think there are comments below (and on many forums) that say just that. But your point is taken; it is a matter of degree. However, there are certainly cameras (and single lenses, for that matter) that are as much, or more, than a car. At what price point is it ok to baby it?

  7. Mohamed Benmeddour Avatar
    Mohamed Benmeddour

    If u dont take care of ur gear it wont take care of u. And if u are using them all the rime this is gear slavery

  8. Gafur Zainal Avatar
    Gafur Zainal

    Yeah tell that to samsung camera users

  9. Gregg Bond Avatar
    Gregg Bond

    Say it with me people, “insurance”. Respect the gear, accept poop happens, move on.

  10. Brian Menin Avatar
    Brian Menin

    Shit happens. If you’re afraid of a little rain or snow, stay indoors. Here’s my 70-200 f/2.8, inconveniently
    filled with snow. httpsploads.disquscdn.com/images/92107342c0364803cb7f4baedd0bc01d5f3ddf3624a89e1c0e64d664f2881827.jpg